Prince Valiant is the most beautifully drawn of all the classic action-adventure comic strips. Its author Hal Foster was a brilliant draftsman and just about every image he ever drew was arresting. He employed large panels that contained lots of detail, but they didn’t work together in a dynamic way, like the shots in a movie, giving the narrative visual momentum.
The strip thus has a kind of static, or perhaps you could say stately, quality — more oriented towards the pictorialism of book illustrations than towards the cinematic energy of most action-adventure strips. Foster relied heavily on blocks of expository text to move his tales forward from one gorgeous image to the next.
Still, it’s a delightful and entertaining strip, aesthetically compelling, and the tales themselves are satisfying yarns, full of chivalric derring-do and spectacular fantasy.
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